Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cupcakes & Kara’s Cupcake Boot Camp

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!  I made cupcakes to share using the recipes and new cupcake making skills I learned at Kara’s Cupcake Boot camp at the San Francisco Cooking School.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to take a few cooking classes this year.  I’ve been wanting to make cupcakes that look more professional, so I decided to take a class from the very talented Kara Lind, the driving force behind one of the best cupcake shops in our area, Kara’s Cupcakes.  Kara was very generous with all her cupcake baking know-how, giving lots of special instructions that will take your cupcakes out of the just ordinary cupcakes category.  As a life long lover of baking, I couldn’t have been more impressed with the boot camp and the decorated cupcakes we turned out at the San Francisco Cooking School.

As Valentine’s Day approached I knew that it would be my first chance to try out a few of the recipes and techniques from Kara’s Boot Camp.  The class was about 5-6 hours long and included lunch.  We made red velvet cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, chocolate frosting and sweet vanilla frosting.  One of the coolest things I picked up at the class was how to make the fondant toppers for the cupcakes.  I’m thrilled to have made and used my own homemade pink fondant heart decorations.  I’m going to share a how to make these fondant cupcake toppers in a separate post with detailed instructions.

I followed Kara’s instructions for making the red velvet cupcakes and cream cheese frosting but couldn’t resist putting a little swirl in my frosting before decorating the cupcakes.  It’s probably not that noticeable because of all the sprinkles I put on top, love the colorful sprinkles.  Now I’m ready to be the one who brings cupcakes to the various family functions, birthday parties etc.  My next project will be to try the vanilla cupcake recipe with the chocolate frosting, this could be the start of a whole new side to my baking projects, hello birthday parties!

We all made our own cupcakes and frostings in the boot camp, below are a few dozen cupcakes cooling on metal racks.  They cool fairly fast and are ready to be decorated with frosting and sprinkles.

The best way to scoop the cupcake batter into the liners is with a standard size ice cream scoop, makes the job so much easier than trying to use a large spoon.
Kara demonstrating the chocolate frosting which was piped in a swirl on the vanilla cupcakes.Kara gives detailed information on piping the frosting, including how to prepare a decorating bag with the tip.
The frosting is spooned into the bag and then pressed down towards the tip before frosting the cupcakes.  Check out the cute tinted fondant decorations displayed on a platter, which are Kara’s trademark cupcake topper decorations.
The piping technique for the red velvet cupcakes is simple and so pretty with the toppers.
Here is a close up of a finished red velvet cupcake- how sweet is this?

Valentine's Day Red Velvet Cupcakes & Kara’s Cupcake Bootcamp

Yield: 18-20 cupcakes

Recipes from Kara's Cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • for Kara's red velvet cupcakes
  • 1&1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1&1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2&1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1&1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1&1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
  • for Kara's cream cheese frosting
  • 12 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 4 ounces room temperature butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 ounces sifted powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. for Kara's red velvet cupcakes
  2. Make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. Carefully line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Have your ice cream scoop ready.
  5. Sift together the dry ingredients-flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  6. In another bowl combine the buttermilk, food color, vinegar and vanilla.
  7. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the oil and sugar on low speed, then beat on medium for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well for 2-3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
  9. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk mixture in thirds.
  10. When everything is blended and smooth, continue mixing on low speed for 2 minutes.
  11. Using an ice cream scoop and fill the cupcake liners 90% full.
  12. Bake for 20-22 minutes, switching pans from front to back half way through baking.
  13. Cupcakes are done when they feel firm to a gentle touch on top-they should spring back.
  14. Remove from oven and cool completely on metal racks before frosting.
  15. for Kara's cream cheese frosting
  16. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese on high speed for 6 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
  17. Add the butter in pieces and continue mixing for 4 minutes or until frosting is very light.
  18. Add the vanilla, mix for 30 seconds longer.
  19. Add the sifted powdered sugar gradually on a medium low speed in 3 parts.
  20. When all the sugar has been added whip frosting on medium speed for 3 minutes
  21. Chill before piping.
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Comments

  1. What fun!
    Did you guys get to do Kara’s salted caramel-chocolate cupcakes? Those are SO decadent!

  2. What a fabulous class! We LOVE Kara’s Cupcakes, and hubs is known to bring home a box of treats whenever he runs into the cupcake truck in front of his office. I would have loved to have been there! Thank you so much for sharing what you learned – she makes it look so simple. Maybe if I get one of those huge frosting tips…

    Lovely cupcakes, Patty! I know my family will LOVE these.

  3. How pretty are these! Love those fondant toppers for cupcakes- definitely adds so much glam! Kara’s cupcakes are really delicious and not just adorable looking!

  4. I love Kara’s cupcakes, what a fun boot camp! Your red velvets are absolute beauties! :)

  5. What pretty cupcakes!! How fun to take a class like that :) looking forward to seeing your tutorial on your fondant hearts. Have a Happy Valentine’s day to you.

  6. These are gorgeous!

  7. So pretty! I need some lessons on frosting cupcakes- mine always look a mess. I love your cute Valentine toppers. :)

  8. I would love to attend this wonderful workshop. All the cupcakes made are so pretty.

  9. It looked like you had a fabulous time at the class and learned a ton of technique by the look of these beautiful cupcakes! A Kara’s just opened up in my neighborhood and the line to get in is insane. Happy Valentine’s Day, Patty!

  10. I’ve never had one of their cupcakes. I use a red velvet recipe very similar only it has butter instead of oil, might have to try this one and compare. Love the toppers you made.
    -Gina-

  11. This is such a fun post!!! She doesn’t mind sharing her recipes for her popular cupcakes? Wow that’s so generous! I totally need this boot camp as I haven’t made one cupcake in my life (I’m just scared of icing part). I want to learn from basic! I’m so happy Burlingame now has Kara’s cupcake, close to my home!

  12. wow my heart melts….these cupcakes are so lovely and I wish I could have one now for tea!
    Those fondant decorations are really pretty.

  13. What beautiful cupcakes! How fun to have taken a class like that too. I can’t wait to hear about the fondant. I’m sorely lacking any knowledge in that department. Great job!

  14. I need Kara’s boot camp, too! I can’t pipe worth a darn….but I keep on trying! Love both your topper and Kara’s…so looking forward to your tutorial. I have a feeling you’ll get a lot of practice after your friends and family taste these…you’ll have requests galore :)

  15. What a fun day you had and what gorgeous cupcakes! They definitely look like they came right from a professional bakery! You go girl!

  16. haha, cupcake bootcamp – the only kind of bootcamp for us ;) Your Valentine cupcakes look scrumptious – look forward to learning how to make fondant from a master! Happy Valentine’s Day, Patty!

  17. Oh Patty! What beautiful cupcakes! They could steal any show, I’m certain! I love red velvet, and I know I would have a hard time saying no to just one. Thank you so much for sharing them with me. I hope you are having a beautiful week. Happy Valentine’s Week!

  18. Taking baking classes it’s been on my bucket list as well. Sounds and looks like you had a lot of fun attending Kara’s bootcamp. Your cupcakes turned out way more beautiful than Kara’s. Love the hearts and the sprinkles.

  19. These are stunners!!!! Anything red velvet is a winner in my book. I have been dying to go to the New SF Cooking School! I just ran into a friend of mine on Sunday who teaches there and will have to sign up for a class or two that she teaches. Let’s plan on taking a class there soon! ;-)

  20. Cupcake boot camp, how fun!! Your cupcakes really do look polished and profession- nice work, Patty! I can’t wait to see your fondant post, that’s something I’ve always wanted to make on my own (store-bought fondants taste too sweet and artificial).

    Beautiful photos!

  21. Awww, these are so cute. Happy Valentines Day Patty!

  22. Patty, how much fun!!! I’m so jealous, would love to take a class like this! I love the bootcamp, and your cupcakes! They look amazing!!! I can’t wait for your fondant how-to. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! xox

  23. What a fun class and this one would have been perfect to attend. I am so intimidated by piping frosting on a cupcake…or applying any kind of decoration, for that matter. Yours look perfect but I seem to remember that your cupcakes pre-class were already pretty. :)

    I still need to look at the calendar at Cavallo Point Lodge. Would still love to attend a class or two and would love some company when I do. These are beautiful, Patty. Thanks for sharing pix of your experience.

  24. Patty, these cupcakes look awesome, absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day! I can tell you that this is the kind of bootcamp that I’d go :)
    Hope you are enjoying your week my dear!

  25. Oh, Patty, I wish I could have gone with you! It sounds like so much fun. Your cupcakes look truly professional!

    Happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo

  26. Happy Valentine’s Patty! What I would give to live next door to you! Your home must always smell like – well – HOME! The things you make in your kitchen…they feel like a warm embrace or a fuzzy sweater or a cozy blanket or a friendly face…the familiar feeling of comfort! And these red velvet cupcakes? Superb! Red velvet and America and Valentine’s Day seem to go hand-in-hand :)

  27. Cupcake boot camp? What an awesome idea! Your cupcakes are so sweet and professional-looking. I never think of you needing to improve at anything – your food photos are always so great!

  28. I would love to go to a cupcake boot camp. These look fabulous, and I love the one with the daisy decoration!

  29. Wow, how fun does that look? Lovely little cupcakes, Patty! Red velvet is my favorite!

  30. Thanks for sharing your class experience Patty! And I love your cupcakes. They look wonderfully delicious!

  31. Wonderful! I’d love to see the vanilla cupcake and chocolate frosting recipes (and photos of the finished product!) on your blog, too!

  32. Patty….I would most definitely purchase a dozen of these beauties from you any day! What a great idea and now you’ve inspired me to look up some baking classes in my own area! I bet these were just fabulous!

  33. Gorgeous, Patty!! Looks as though you had a great class experience…thanks for sharing!! Exciting for sure!

  34. I love everything about these cupcakes and wish I had one right now!

  35. That’s the only boot camp I’d like to attend. Cupcake heaven :)

  36. Hi Patty! I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day. Your cupcakes are gorgeous! I’ve never made red velvet and keep saying I will soon. Loved the boot camp pictures, I should have been there.:)

  37. This looks like such a fun class. It is great to pick up those tips and classes are the best way to get them. Your cupcakes are just lovely and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] frosting which were the second cupcake/frosting recipe at Kara’s Cupcake Bootcamp, after the Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Those red velvet cupcakes were a hard act to follow but I think this bittersweet chocolate [...]

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